Bafana Bafana

Mumble orders a shrink for Bafana

2017-10-01 06:00
TOUGH TIMES: Coach Stuart Baxter agrees that the team needs a sports psychologist. (Jabulani Langa)

Johannesburg - Bafana Bafana players need some inspiration after their back-to-back defeats to Cape Verde.

In an effort to motivate them and get them to overcome their shortcomings, the SA Football Association (Safa) will employ a sports psychologist.

Safa chief executive officer Dennis Mumble says it was apparent from his discussions with coach Stuart Baxter that the players needed someone to work on their mind-set ahead of their encounter against Burkina Faso on Saturday.

“They lack motivation. That’s it, nothing more,” said Mumble.

“I have already asked the chief medical officer to source a sports psychologist for all the national teams, starting with Bafana’s camp.The coach is in agreement with that, because the first thing he mentioned after the Cape Verde trip was that the mind-set was not right".

Heavily stacked against them

Bafana take on the Stallions in a must-win match at FNB Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Baxter not only faces a right-back conundrum ahead of the clash, but also the very real prospect of missing out on the world football spectacle in Russia next year.

If they want to keep their slim hopes of qualifying for the tournament alive, Bafana need a convincing victory in the World Cup qualifier against the west Africans.

The national squad has moved from pole position to the bottom of Group D in the African qualifiers, and now the odds are heavily stacked against them.

Baxter’s selection issue, particularly in the right-back position, is because defender Ramahlwe Mphahlele is out with an injury.

This has left Baxter with a headache because he must choose one of two untested defenders to put into the fullback position.

Unless he decides to shift captain Thulani Hlatshwayo, the spot could only go to youngsters Reeve Frosler or Thamsanqa Mkhize, who are new to the Bafana set-up and have no caps.

Although Hlatshwayo has played in the position before, he looks more at home in the centre of defence, where he would partner either Morgan Gould or Eric Mathoho, who has served his one-match suspension.

However, the return of goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune should give Baxter and the nation some much-needed confidence going into this crucial tie.

Other game

Baxter was confident of getting their qualifiers back on track after the two shocking defeats to the Blue Sharks a few weeks ago. 

Bafana would have been home and dry by now had they won the two games, but they find themselves at the bottom of the group with just a single point after soccer’s international governing body Fifa ordered their game against Senegal to be replayed.

The Stallions will be on a mission to shut the door on Bafana once and for all. A victory over Bafana will almost secure their ticket to Russia – depending on what happens in the other game between Senegal and Cape Verde.

But they will not be too concerned about what happens in the other match as they know they have to do the job themselves if they are to go to Russia.

The absence of Tokelo Rantie means Baxter will have a new strike force, but he will most likely start with SuperSport United marksman Bradley Grobler alongside the returning Dino Ndlovu.

After changing the complexion of the game when he came on as a late substitute against the Blue Sharks, Andile Jali is likely to start the game.

The Belgium-based midfielder showed a great deal of determination and much-needed composure when he pulled one back for Bafana, which should have given him a ticket to start the game on Saturday.

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